The Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) is to implement a new strategy to “get the business back to its roots as the best independent buying group in Europe”.
According to the group’s new chairman Michael Aldridge, speaking at its AGM held yesterday (August 7) in Birmingham, CMJ is looking to refocus the needs of the business and will place renewed emphasis on its retail members and the group’s suppliers.
At the AGM, CMJ’s non-executive finance director Julie Langford reported that subsidiary businesses set up by CMJ over the past year, had contributed to a net loss of £73k in the group’s financial accounts for the year ended March 31, 2017.
These subsidary businesses include Somers Distribution, a distribution business and Facets Creative, which was formed from the acquisition and merger of Design Unique, HBS Internet and I-Synergy Design.
Willie Hamilton, former chief executive of CMJ, stepped down from his role on July 31.
Aldridge noted how far the CMJ had come in the last 10 years under Hamilton and former chairman Stephen Hughes, having raised its profile and significantly increased its membership.
However, he added that there were now opportunities to re-evaluate the services the group offers and said he believed there were potential cost savings to be considered.
As a result, he said, the CMJ has now appointed an independent accountancy firm to conduct a thorough “top down business review”.
Aldridge added: “We have a challenging time ahead of us. We have identified the issues and are dealing with them in a positive way with good corporate governance, transparency and integrity.
“There is now an opportunity to look at the services we offer and there are cost savings to consider. We are looking for greater transparency within the business and we will be more focused on the needs of our members.”
Over the past year, CMJ has welcomed eight new members and is to “announce some exciting new suppliers” within the next few months, according to Aldridge.
“We need to stand together,” concluded Aldridge, “we are CMJ”.
The chairman’s address was endorsed by several of CMJ’s biggest retail members, including Alan Higgs of TH Baker and Edward Ferris of Swag Jewellers, both commenting that they had absolute confidence in the CMJ board of directors and that the new chairman was “outstanding”.